Rehab complete, Hill returns to majors

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Rehab complete, Hill returns to majors

CHICAGO -- Less than 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, reliever Rich Hill made it back to the big leagues Friday, promoted from Pawtucket where he had been on a rehab assignment.

"He worked so hard and stayed with the program,'' said Bobby Valentine. "He was religious with his work ethic. It's a credit to a plan that was followed and a guy that was able to follow a plan. The plan wasn't really for (him to return by) April, so that makes it a little remarkable.''

Hill credited his return to "all the work that we did this off-season and put in, everything from the lifts in the gym to the work Mike (Reinold, physical therapist) put in, our shoulder program, everything is starting to pay off. Now that it's over with, it's go time.

Hill made 11 appearances at various stops in the minor league and dominated hitters.

"It comes down to this,'' said Hill. "Every time you go out there, if you throw the ball with conviction and have the ball come out of your hand every time the way you want it too, things are going to more often than not, go your way. I've been saying that throughout the process and I believe it.''

The lefty said he thought the ball was coming out of his hand better than before the surgery last June, and that his velocity has actually improved 2 mph, too.

"It's coming out with more life,'' said Hill. "It just seems that everything is put together better. And that's mostly due to the regimen of working out this past off-season. It's not really rehabbing your elbow; it's more so that you maintain and continue to strengthen your shoulder.''

Valentine declined to get too specfic about how Hill will be used, saying only "not too early (in games), and not for too long.''

That suggests that, at least initially, Hill will be utilized mostly as a lefty specialist.

"I know I can get both righties and lefties out,'' said Hill. "Whatever the need is for this team to win and to move forward, I think everybody has to give their role and step aside from themselves. If you think, 'Hey, I'm not this,' or 'I'm not a lefty specialist,' your role is to help the team to win. That's the bottom line. That's how I feel.''

To make room for Hill, the Red Sox optioned Justin Thomas to Pawtucket.

Farrell: Red Sox ‘optimistic’ Andrew Benintendi can return in 2016

Farrell: Red Sox ‘optimistic’ Andrew Benintendi can return in 2016

Red Sox manager John Farrell said rookie left fielder Andrew Benintendi sustained no further structural damage to his knee, other than the previously diagnosed sprain, after injuring it on the basepaths against the Rays.

Farrell said the team is optimistic that Benintendi, placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, will be able to return before the end of the season. Watch the video for more. 

Friday’s Red Sox-Royals lineups: Wright returns from DL to start

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Friday’s Red Sox-Royals lineups: Wright returns from DL to start

Steven Wright makes his first start since Aug. 5 tonight when he returns from the disabled list to face the Kansas City Royals as the Red Sox open a three-game series at Fenway Park. 

Wright was activated from the 15-day DL Friday and right-handed reliever Heath Hembree was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Wright injured his right shoulder on a head-first dive back to second base when he was used as pinch-runner against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 6. 

The knuckleballer is 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA and had won five of his past six decisions before going on the DL. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Ian Kennedy (8-9, 3.58). The resurgent World Series champion Royals (66-61), in third place in the A.L. Central, have won nine of their past 10 after having their nine-game wining streak end on Wednesday. 

With Andrew Benintendi (knee sprain) on the DL, Brock Holt gets the start in left field for the Red Sox.

The lineups:

ROYALS

Jerome Dyson CF

Cheslor Cuthbert 3B

Lorenzo Cain RF

Eric Hosmer 1B

Kendrys Morales DH

Alex Gordon LF

Alcides Escobar SS

Drew Butera C

Raul Mondesi Jr. 2B

Ian Kennedy RHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Sandy Leon C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Travis Shaw 3B

Brock Holt LF 

Steven Wright RHP